Many people come to Costa Rica for the nightlife. It’s fun to party and there is no shortage of places to go in San Jose a noche. “Yeah, I love the nature too”. Well, get out and see it. Do it!

The best tour in Costa Rica is whitewater rafting Río Pacuare. I’ve lived here for nearly six years and have toured all over the Country. I’ve done this tour countless times. There are lots of experienced tour operators that will provide pick-up from any San Jose hotel, provide transportation to and from the River, snacks and bi-lingual guides.

Río Pacuare peaks at Class III – Class IV rapids. Most day-trips are done in The Lower Section of the River, where you float among pristine rainforest with waterfalls surrounding you as you go. Rainy Season is here and the River will rise and produce bigger rapids and more waterfalls than the Dry Season. There are other runs in the Country that are more intense (Class IV+ Pascua Section of Río Reventazon) for experienced adrenaline chasers, but none match the combination of big drops with big beauty like Río Pacuare.

Most tour operators will pick you up at about 6:00 AM to start the day. You are normally served a típico breakfast at a lodge or restaurant somewhere around the drop-in point. The popular tour guides always do a great job with filling you in on what you need to do to ensure your own and your companions safety on the trip.

The run down the River is about a three-hour adventure. The first forty-five minutes or so are mostly Class II – Class III rapids and are great for getting your bearings on the raft and feeling the nature that surrounds you. Make sure that you focus on the River as you’re approaching rapids, but don’t forget to look around and take it all in as you’re floating along. There literally huge green walls of rock surrounding you. You will see birds, butterflies and frogs along the way. You might even be lucky and see some mammals as well.

After getting comfortable over the first stretch, it’s time to go! The Pacuare River Gorge Section is packed with big drops and awe-inspiring views. “Double-drop”, “Terciopelo Snake”, “Upper Huacas” and “Lower Huacas” are stand-out highlights of this run. Strap in tight and paddle hard and you’ll be fine.

You’re then served snacks at the half-way point. Fruits and sandwiches are commonplace for the meal on most tours. The last section is wide-open, “El Valle del Pacuare”. It brings the run together beautifully after going through the narrow parts of the Gorge. It’s open sky and wide passage points between the rapids make for excellent wildlife watching.

Really, no matter what your time here entails…make a point to do this Tour. It will cost you about $100.00 for the day and will make your day / week / month / year. Enjoy the ride and pura vida!

Jay Sell

Columbus, Ohio

Winner of the massage for 2 at the White Angel Spa